Reggae crooner Beres Hammond knows exactly how to bring a house down, and on Wednesday, the final night of the Love and Harmony Cruise, he did just that. After nine parties and performances over six days, the task was left to the legendary artiste, with the support of reggae queen Marcia Griffiths, to round out the second staging of the cruise which offers patrons a slice of Caribbean culture while sailing the high seas.
Not even the stiff winds which swept across the pool deck and upper level located on the 11th and 12th floors of the Celebrity Summit cruise liner could prevent Harmonizers, the name taken on by passengers on the trip, from taking in the all-white dress code event, which has become the most aniticipated showcase of the trip.
Hammond stepped on stage at exactly 9:00 pm and for the next one and a half hours had his audience glued to the small stage from which he belted his hits of the past four decades.
All the favourites just came flowing, and with the Harmony House band in tow, what resulted was a real party vibe as the vessel charted choppy waters towards the Florida Straits.
I feel Good, Step Aside Now, Tempted to Touch, Come Back Home, Double Trouble,Putting Up Resistance, Can You Play Some More were some on the night’s playlist. Reggae queen Marcia Griffiths, having done a splendid set ahead of Hammond’s performance, returned to the stage to add her voice to their popular duet Live Onwhich, like everything Hammond did, was well received. Lively banter and exchanges with his audience made the performance more interactive and brought the music to the patrons, which comprised primarily representatives of the Caribbean Diaspora living in North America and the United Kingdom. He would round out the set with tracks such as What One Dance Can Do, Rock Away and They Gonna Talk.
Had he continued for another hour, these loyal fans aboard the vessel would have remained on deck for the entire performance, even amidst the high winds which were growing colder as the night wore on.
Griffiths was also in fine form as she dropped her deep catalogue of hits and favourites on the Harmonizers.
With a full moon in the sky and the strong winds creating shapes with her billowing white evening gown and head piece Griffiths, who has had hits in every decade from the 1960s to present day, was able to deliver a truly satisfying set.
Her choices for this set included Land of Love, I Shall Sing, Want To Be Closer, and Fire Burning. The duet All My Life, originally recorded with singer D’Aville, showcased the growing talent and confidence of her son Taff, with whom she shared the honours this time round. She would also pay tribute to her contemporaries Bob and Rita Marley with a snappy medley of One Draw, Who The Cap Fit and Iron Lion Zion.
Griffiths capped her set with the global anthem Electric Boogie, which converted the pool deck into a with-clad passengers doing the accompanying electric slide.
The performaces by both Griffiths and Hammond securely placed the lid on a string of strong performances during the 2018 edition of the Love and Harmony Cruise.
Singer Alaine was one of the passengers who truly enjoyed not just the performance of Griffiths and Hammond, but the entire entertainment package.
“Life is about enjoying every moment and I love Marcia and Beres, and the line-up of the entire cruise was something that I could get behind and enjoy .. and I would absolutely do it again. Love and Harmony was just really testament of Caribbean people coming together celebrating reggae music and the love that it represents. There was the hint of soca that we were blessed with from Rupee and Kevin Lyttle and it just point to the fact that we must support each other and as Caribbean people we need to support things that Caribbean people are presenting,” she noted.
The Love and Harmony Cruise began at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last Saturday. In addition to the parties featuring a number of Florida and New York- based selectors, the live entertainment featured comedians Ity and Fancy Cat and Internet sensation Majah Hype. During its call in Montego Bay last Monday the duo of Chakademus and Pliers, Sanchez and Beenie Man entertained. Other performances came from LUST, Mr Vegas and Elephant Man.
By: Richard Johnson